Archive for February, 2016

World first kidney transplant using 3D printing performed in Northern Ireland


3D printing has been used for the first time in the world to support kidney transplant surgery between an adult donor and a child recipient, Lucy, a three-year-old girl from Northern Ireland.

Lucy suffered heart failure and developed supraventricular tachycardia – a condition that makes the heart beating irregularly faster than normal. As her kidney were deprived from oxygen, she would have had to undergo dialysis treatment her whole lifetime. In November 2015, she received transplantation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, with a kidney donated by her father.

3D printers from St Thomas and Guy’s hospitals were used to produce models of the donor kidney and Lucy’s abdomen to enable the surgeons assessing the feasibility of the transplant, rehearse and plan the highly complex operation. 3D printers replicate the body’s part and density through a model of liquid plastic, molded under ultraviolet light.

The operation was a success for Lucy, and his father has also fully recovered.

Better managing patients with CKD and increasing awareness of kidney disease: the Austrian 60/20 program


The Austrian Society of Nephrology (ÖGN) has just launched the 60/20 program, with the aim of increasing awareness of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and improving the management of CKD-diagnosed patients in Austria. The name of the initiative refers to the eGFR levels (glomerular filtration rate, measuring a person’s kidney function and enabling to determine the stage of kidney disease) at which specific interventions will be required in patients (60 and 20). The program focuses on a threefold set of goals: screening for CKD in high risk populations; structured care for patients with CKD; and timely preparation for renal replacement therapy.

Screening for CKD in high risk populations

High risk populations which will be offered a screening test are defined as people aged between 40-65 and showing one of the following factors: hypertension, diabetes, obesity or positive family history for kidney disease.

Structured care for patients with CKD

Any patient with an eGFR below 60 ml/min/1.73 m² would receive structured CKD care. On a case-by-case basis, the patient will undergo further diagnostic investigations by a nephrologist. Therapeutic interventions (i.e cholesterol-lowering treatment, dietetic counseling) are initiated. In case of a eGFR level below 30 ml/minx1.73 m², patients will receive medical attention closely combining a general practioner and a nephrologist to prevent any complications.

Timely preparation for renal replacement therapy

When eGFR levels drop below 20 ml/min/1.73 m², the patient will receive a preparation for renal replacement therapy in a nephrology unit. This includes information about treatment modalities (hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, transplantation) and conservative management. Early referral enables to make a joint decision between the patient and the physician on the selection of the optimal treatment.

Initiated in a “pilot” province of Austria, the program is expected to extend to other provinces prior to being assessed in close cooperation with other disease management programs for diabetes and heart disease.

European Cancer community united on World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day

From 1st to 5th of February, the Brussels cancer community – Cancer Research UK, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL), the European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) and ECCO (The European CanCer Organisation) – joined efforts to raise awareness on the needs of cancer patients during the plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, to mark World Cancer Day (4th of February).

Cancer remains the second cause of death in Europe and the ageing society phenomenon means mortality rates are likely to continue increasing. The organisations stressed the need for political commitment to place cancer patients first when designing policies and to take comprehensive action from disease prevention to treatment and rehabilitation. They outlined the utmost importance of cooperation between policy-makers and stakeholders to achieve these goals.

MEP Glenis Willmott joined the cancer community in these efforts by hosting an event on the 4th, during which she gave an overview of the recent achievements at EU level in the fight against cancer and highlighted the actions that need to be implemented to enhance the eradication of the disease in Europe.

More information here.